This article has been updated.
It’s not really the case, as you may have seen reported elsewhere, that there have been 18 school shootings in the United States this year. That data point comes from a gun-control-advocacy organization called Everytown for Gun Safety and includes any discharge of a firearm at a school — including accidents — as a “shooting.” It also includes incidents that happened to take place at a school, whether students were involved or not.
Perhaps these meet your standard for a school shooting, but generally, the term refers to something more specific: the targeting of students or teachers at a school. By Everytown’s standard, there has been a shooting every 2.5 days this year. Using a stricter standard, there have been at least seven school shootings in 2018 — more than one each week. Shootings near New Orleans and Los Angeles. Shootings in Kentucky, Arizona and Texas. And, on Wednesday, a shooting in Parkland, Fla., that has left 17 people dead and an undetermined number wounded (as of writing).
A shooting more than once a week is bad enough.
Since 2000, using data compiled by Wikipedia and evaluated by type of school and type of incident, there have been more than 130 shootings at elementary, middle and high schools, and 58 others at colleges and universities.
At high schools, including preliminary data from the Parkland shooting, there have been almost 70 people killed and nearly 200 wounded. At elementary and middle schools, about 60 people have been killed and about 60 wounded.
Those deaths at elementary schools are, of course, driven upward by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. But there have been shootings at elementary schools in seven other states as well since Jan. 1, 2000.
There have been nearly twice as many shootings at middle schools, the deadliest of which targeted an Amish school in Pennsylvania. (We have included it as a middle school because of the ages of the older students who were killed.)
There were five times as many shootings at high schools since 2000 than at middle schools, affecting most of the most heavily-populated areas of the country — and a number of rural areas as well.
Since 2000, there have been school shootings in 43 of the 50 states, according to our data. (The exceptions: Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming.) The shootings have taken place at a rate of about one a month and left about 250 students and teachers dead.
These numbers may be low.